Weekly Update: March 31, 2022

Weekly Update

Steven, Graham and Damian are having a blast working

on their podcast at LexMedia!

Information From Cotting School

Updates from Cotting


Spring Break

There will be no school from April 17 through 21 for our spring break.


Monday, June 19 Cotting will be closed for the Juneteenth holiday.

Last Day of School

Barring a spring storm, our last day of school will be Tuesday, June 20 with an 11:00 a.m. dismissal.

Cotting Summer Program

​July 10 – August 11, 2023, from 8:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. More information to come after the break. We anticipate that all our students are attending our Summer Program. If your child is NOT planning on attending, please email Leah Thibodeau at LThibodeau@cotting.org.​​


An Overview of the Groupings Process and Leadership Update

Wednesday, April 12 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Zoom

Join us for a discussion on the groupings process, how we decide on classroom placement each year and a brief update on the changes in leadership at Cotting.

​The Zoom link will be posted in the Friday Weekly Update as well as in an email prior to the meeting.


​​​​​​Program Level Differences and Expectations

Wednesday, May 17 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Zoom​

Join us for a discussion on the program levels here at Cotting, what constitutes changing levels and what you and your student can expect in each one.

​​​​The Zoom link will be posted in the Friday Weekly Update as well as in an email prior to the meeting.


First Day of School

​Our anticipated first day of school for the 2023-2024 school year is Wednesday, August 30, 2023. The full calendar for next year can be found here.


If you have any questions about topics in this update or other program areas please feel free to reach out to Bridget Irish at birish@cotting.org.

Looking for Your Feedback

We are continuing to plan for next year and need your feedback about classrooms! Please don’t forget to fill out your Parent Feedback Form about Homeroom Classrooms next year:

Parent Feedback (English Version) for 2023-2024 School Year Form 


Parent Feedback (Spanish Version) for 2023-2024 School Year Form 

Get started now–the end of the year will be here before we know it!

Next PTO Meeting

Friday, April 7, 2023 at 8:30 a.m.

Want to learn more about the PTO and volunteer opportunities? Join us at the next meeting! You can either attend in person (meetings are held in the school’s Board Room) or online via Zoom. All Cotting parents and guardians are welcome to attend!

Join Us at Play It Forward, a Fundraiser Featuring Falcon Trivia!

Thursday, April 13, 6-9 p.m.

Gather your friends and colleagues to support Cotting’s after school and sports programs!

Highlights include team trivia, Plinko, bowling, raffle prizes and a silent auction.


  • $50 – General Admission (does not include trivia)
  • $75 – Solo Trivia Player
  • $500 – Trivia Team (2-8 people), Supporter Level
  • $1,000 – Trivia Team (2-8 people), Premier Level

Click HERE to purchase tickets and view featured raffle prizes. Reach out to Carly Churchill at cchurchill@cotting.org if you have questions.

Got Sneakers?

Ms. Nagle’s Upper School students and Ms. Mayo’s Middle School students are working together to collect used sneakers for Earth Day.

Did you know sneakers take 80 years to break down in landfills? Please help us meet our goal of collecting 100 sneakers in a month by sending in any old sneakers that you no longer use. The collection sites are in the lobby and outside of the learning commons. We will continue collecting sneakers until April 13, 2023.

“Grandparents Day” Reception On-Campus

Save the date for Wednesday, May 31 at 5:00 p.m.! We are excited to host an in-person “Grandparents Day” reception for grandparents, other relatives and close family friends of students. We will provide light refreshments as well as interactive activities to share the Cotting experience. This event will immediately precede the annual art show. Students are encouraged to attend with their guests. Parents/guardians are also welcome to attend.

Please complete this FORM by April 19 to provide contact information for any person(s) (up to 4 invitations) that you would like us to invite to this event. Invitations will be sent to your guests directly from our office. If you have questions, please contact Carly Churchill at cchurchill@cotting.org or 781-325-7997.

Information Session

Friday, April 28, 9:30-11 a.m.

Know someone who might be interested in sending their child to Cotting School? Encourage them to attend our next information session!

Learn more here.

Summer Camp Experiences

Are you looking for a camp experience for your child this summer?

Check out these resources to see what’s available for day and overnight camps:

If your child has had a great experience (or not-so-great experience) at a day or overnight camp, please let Pam Varrin know at pvarrin@cotting.org. Cotting parents are always looking to learn from the experiences of other families!

Overnight Camps That Have Stood Out for Cotting Families and Staff:

Community Resources & Events
Do You or a Family Member Get Insurance Through MassHealth?

If so, keep a close eye on your mailbox for a blue envelope this month. The state is rechecking the eligibility for all 2.3 million current MassHealth enrollees. Officials expect up to 400,000 people will be taken off the state-run health insurance program over the coming year.

  • Why now? The end of the federal COVID emergency means the end of more relaxed eligibility requirements that allowed everyone who was part of the surge in MassHealth enrollees in 2020 to keep their coverage, even if they became ineligible later.
  • What to watch for: About half of MassHealth members will get a normal-looking letter saying their coverage will be “automatically” renewed. However, the other half will get attention-grabbing blue envelopes saying they need to take action or risk losing coverage. (Blue envelopes don’t necessarily mean you’re losing coverage—just that a response is needed.s
  • The timeline: the year-long process has already begun on a rolling basis (state health officials say some people may have already gotten a blue envelope.) Beginning April 1, those who don’t respond within 45 days could lose MassHealth coverage, even if they’re still eligible.
  • Have questions? MassHealth is doubling the number of workers at its call centers to handle the expected increase in calls.
  • What’s next: State House News Service reports the state’s Health Connector is opening a special enrollment period from April through November for those who do lose coverage.
Author of “The Explosive Child” & “Lost at School” in Concord

Concord, MA, April 4th, 2023. Free. The Concord and Concord-Carlisle SEPAC, Carlisle SEPAC, Willard PTG, Alcott PTG & CMS PTG invites the community to a free presentation by Dr. Ross Greene.

Dr. Greene is a clinical psychologist and a New York Times bestselling author whose influential work is known around the world.

  • He is well known for developing the model of care — Collaborative and Proactive Solutions — that helps parents, guardians and teachers solve problems and build collaborative relationships with the children in their care.
  • In his most recent book, Raising Human Beings, he explains how to cultivate a better parent/guardian-child relationship while also nurturing empathy, honesty, resilience and independence.

Click here to register or for more information or contact concordsepac@gmail.com.

Special Needs Resource Fair

Dedham, MA, April 11th, 2023, with the Dedham and Westwood SEPACs. The Westwood and Dedham’s Special Education Parent Advisory Councils resource fair is bringing together the community’s best special education and special needs resources in one location for you.

Resources Attending:

Feeding Matters, The Lark Center, ARKO Dance Studio, Reading Refined, inclusive sports, inclusive arts programs, extracurricular activities, other support professionals and much more.

For more information email sepacdedham@gmail.com

Free Family Training: The Inevitable Aging Process

Webinar, Tuesday, April 11, 2023, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Please join us for a presentation on understanding the aging and family caregiver supports that are available to you and your family. We will explore how to use the aging network for older adults as well as for those with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. As we discuss the resources you and your loved ones can access, you will learn how these services may work together with your social services agency (e.g. Minuteman Arc) and the developmental disability network. Our presenters bring complementary skill sets to the table and will be able to address a broad range of concerns.


There will be time for questions.


Leslie May-Chibani, LSW, Assistant Director at Minuteman Senior Services in Bedford, has over 17 years of experience in the aging network. Prior to moving into the Assistant Director role, Leslie worked one-on-one with over 300 family caregivers through all stages of their journey, including care transitions from hospital to home. She founded and chaired the first two years of the Partnership to Promote Healthy Caregiving, a caregiver coalition bringing together professionals and family caregivers to improve access and services for caregivers along the continuum of care.


Andrew Fieleke is a Community Care Coordinator for the Family Caregiver Support and Options Counseling programs at Minuteman Senior Services, an Aging Service Access Point and Area Agency on Aging, based out of Bedford, Massachusetts. He has been with Minuteman since 2014 and prior to that worked as a psychotherapist in private practice and community mental health settings. Andrew holds an MA in Counseling Psychology from Antioch University, Seattle.

To register for this workshop, RSVP by Monday, April 10 to

FamilyTraining@minutemanarc.org. Please include your phone number and email when registering. The Zoom link will be sent to you following registration.

Preparing for “The Talk”: Ways to get ready to talk about sexuality, relationships, and identity

April 13, 2023, 12:00 p.m.

Presented by Eileen Crehan, Ph.D.:

The landscape of dating, relationships, and sexuality changes rapidly — and for those of us providing support or guidance in these areas, knowing where to begin can be daunting. Join Dr. Crehan, a licensed clinical psychologist and autism researcher, to build your comfort with discussing sexuality and relationship topics and to hear about current research. She will identify comfort zones for dating, relationships, and sexuality to promote positive, self-directed outcomes for autistic individuals. She will also use a positive framework to think about goals for the attendee’s learning and share resources for additional learning.


Register here.


Getting and Giving Consent: For People with Autism

April 20, 2023, 1:00 p.m.

Presented by Katherine McLaughlin, M.Ed., AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator:

How do we know when someone wants to do something with us? How do we make sure we are clear about what we want? Whether it is being in a person’s company or being sexual with another person, it takes both people to communicate clearly and to listen to the response. In this workshop, Katherine McLaughlin will explore what consent means, how to give consent, how to get consent, and ways to manage rejection.


Register here.

Friendship Development for Autistic Youth: Lessons from the UCLA PEERS® Clinic

April 27, 2023, 1:00 p.m.

Presented by Elizabeth Laugeson, Psy.D.:

This interactive webinar will provide an engaging overview of an evidence-based intervention for neurodivergent adolescents and adults seeking to make and keep friends. Dr. Laugeson will highlight methods for teaching friendship and social skills utilized in the PEERS® intervention, including video demonstrations of targeted skills. Attendees will be given concrete strategies for friendship development and maintenance, along with tips for handling bullying and rejection.

Register here.

A Guide to Interpersonal Communication and Conflict for Autistic Teens and Adults

May 11, 2023 1:00 p.m.

Presented by Courtney Lang, Ph.D. and Liana Hicks:

Interpersonal communication and relationship conflicts happen to us all. In this webinar, Liana Hicks and Courtney Lang will discuss interpersonal communication and relationship conflicts and how to guide autistic teens or adults through them. The two experts will present how to interact during arguments and how we can grow from arguments and misunderstandings. Lastly, they will share tips, tricks, and tactics to practice navigating interpersonal interactions in everyday scenarios.


Register here.

Our Disability Roadmap

We join millions around the world in mourning the recent death of disability rights pioneer Judy Heumann. Judy was a close friend of Bob Williams and a mentor and friend to Samuel and Dan Habib, and thousands of others. As we grieve her death and celebrate her life, we are rebroadcasting the powerful “Our Disability Roadmap” conversation between Samuel and Judy (originally held on September 30, 2022).


This tribute webinar will take place on

Friday, April 21, 2023, 3:00-4:30 p.m.

If you have registered for a previous “Our Disability Roadmap” webinar, you are already registered and will receive a link.

If you have not registered for the series, REGISTER TODAY

  • ASL interpretation and captioning will be provided.
  • Even if you can’t attend live, registrants will receive a link to watch the recorded version by early May 2023.
The 2023-2024 Allen C. Crocker Family Fellowship

Now Accepting Applications

What is the Allen C. Crocker Family Fellowship?

The Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Network created the Allen C. Crocker Family Fellowship in 2012. The Fellowship celebrates the work of Dr. Allen C. Crocker and his devotion to families of children with disabilities.

The fellowship is for family members of individuals with a developmental disability. If you are accepted into the fellowship, you will be called a Crocker Fellow.

As a Crocker Fellow, you will come up with a project idea. Staff from the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) will help you with your project. We will help you develop leadership skills and learn about disability policy, services and supports.

What do Crocker Fellows do?

First, come up with a project idea.

As a Crocker Fellow, you will work on a project. Some project ideas include:

  • advocating for people with disabilities
  • looking at disability policy
  • doing disability research
  • working on other projects that help make life better for people with developmental disabilities and their families

While you work on your project, you will also learn about:

  • disability policy and other public policy issues
  • the legislative process
  • how to advocate at the state house
  • what disability agencies do in Massachusetts
  • how to create change

How long is the Fellowship?

The Crocker Fellowship is one year long and goes from July 23, 2023–June 30, 2024. Crocker Fellows will spend up to 20 hours each week on fellowship activities.

Do Crocker Fellows get paid?

Yes, Crocker Fellows get a total of $20,000 for the year. Fellows get paid each month or every three months, depending on their preference.

Where is the Fellowship?

The Crocker Fellowship is at the ICI in Dorchester, MA. Crocker Fellows can work remotely and/or in person at the ICI.

Am I eligible for the Fellowship?

Do you live in Massachusetts? Do you have a family member with a disability? Do you want to learn skills for working in the disabilities field? If you answered “yes” to all these questions, you are eligible to apply! We also encourage people of different racial, ethnic or cultural backgrounds to apply.

Can I work with another friend or family member for the Fellowship?

Yes. The Fellowship is designed for one person, but two family members can apply together. Also, you don’t have to be related to each other. If you have a friend who also meets the eligibility requirements, you can both apply together. If you apply with another person, you will split the money and Fellowship resources.

Important Dates

Application deadline:  April 21, 2023 at 5 p.m. Eastern

Begin interviewing finalists:  May 2023

Winner announced:  June 2023

Fellowship begins: July 23, 2023

Fellowship ends: June 30, 2024

Do you have any other questions about the Fellowship?

Contact Berenise Reyes-Albino by phone at 617-287-4314 or berenise.albino@umb.edu if you have questions.

Learn more here.

Two Free Workshops on Healthcare Transition from Boston Children’s Hospital

For caregivers of adolescents with ID who will require guardianship:

Thursday, May 11, 2023, 10:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. on Zoom

  • Overview of transition basics
  • Guardianship process
  • Professional panel
  • Patient/Family Experience

For caregivers of adolescents with chronic illness and/or complex healthcare needs:

Thursday, May 18, 2023, 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Zoom

  • Overview of transition basics
  • Navigating college with a chronic medical condition
  • Job searching & workplace accommodations
  • Considerations for transfer to adult medical care
  • Professional panel
  • Patient/Family Experience
  • Advance registration is required

Register Here

Advocacy for MA DDS Self-Directed Services as Envisioned by the 2014 Real Lives Law

Webinar, May 16, 2023, with the Massachusetts Alliance for 21st Century Disability Policy. Join the conversation about Massachusetts Alliance for 21st Century Disability Policy (MA21) advocacy for changes to MA DDS Self-Directed Services to comply with the 2014 Real Lives Law.

Help improve regulations and waivers at the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to increase transparency, flexibility and self-determination.

Other dates will be posted. Your voice is needed!

Check out the MA21 Real Lives Law Fact Sheet for some background here.

Click here for more information

Universal Access Outdoor Connections in Massachusetts

Winter Recreation: DCR Programs, Parks and Trails

The Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) Universal Access Program provides outdoor recreation opportunities in Massachusetts state parks for visitors of all abilities and ages. Join them on Zoom at Universal Access Outdoor Connections to learn about their offerings and share your experience with accessible and adaptive programs in DCR Parks.

2023 Dates and Topics:

  • April 21 – Birding in DCR Parks
  • May 19 – Summer Programs and Opportunities

To get more information, register and get the link to attend, email Kristen.Rhodes@mass.gov.

Need Supportive Housing?

Mainstay Can Help!

Join our Housing Informational Sessions on Zoom, led by Doreen Cummings, Director of In-Home Services! Learn about Mainstay’s seven properties and other housing resources in Massachusetts. We will review budgets, websites and meet current residents who will share their perspectives.


All sessions take place from 6-7 p.m.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Click here for the link

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Click here for the link

Mainstay coordinates supportive homes in Newton, Malden, Norwood and Walpole for adults with a variety of abilities. Residents live largely independently. Services offered include live-in overnight staffing, evening and weekend staffing, professional cleaning of common areas, a daily communal dinner, support with activities of daily living and built-in socialization and friendship opportunities.

Visit our Websites:




If you cannot attend a Zoom Open House session, please contact Doreen via email at doreen.cummings@mainstayliving.org or phone at 617-799-6739 to schedule a one-on-one meeting.

New Series from The Arc of MA: Advocacy for MA DDS Self-Directed Services as Envisioned by the 2014 Real Lives Law

Your voice is needed! Join the conversation about the Massachusetts Alliance for 21st Century Disability Policy’s (MA21) advocacy for changes to the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Self-Directed Services to comply with the 2014 Real Lives Law.


Help improve regulations and waivers at DDS to increase transparency, flexibility and self-determination. Learn how to be part of organized advocacy with DDS to transform regulations, policies and guidelines to make Self-Direction more transparent and less restrictive.


Sessions are currently scheduled for the following dates and times. You can attend one or more sessions. Additional dates will be posted.


Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m.:

  • May 16

Register for Sessions Here

MA21 Real Lives Law Fact Sheet

United Dance is Coming Back to Boston!


During our six-day dance and choreographic course and two-day art course, youth and young adults with Down Syndrome will have the opportunity to dance and experience live music with professional dancers, musicians and seasoned teachers. The United Dance team comprises experts in teaching art to specialized populations in a safe, engaging environment. Our program is designed to empower, foster creativity and, above all, give students the experience of a lifetime!

Dance & Choreographic Course

Dates: April 18-23, 2023

Venue: Brookline Ballet School

Start time: 4 p.m. (daily class lasts 1 hour + 30-minute choreographic workshop)

Register here

Art Course

Dates: June 10-11, 2023

Venue: Brookline Ballet School

Register here


We welcome all students and have partial and full scholarships, as well as financial aid, available.

Hanover Dance Program




  • Hosted By: Shoestring Dance Program
  • Address:  775 Washington Street, Hanover MA 02339
  • When: Fridays at 5:30 p.m.
  • Dates: May 5-May 26
  • Ages: 8+ years old


**Limited Spots available!


If you have any questions please email Vicky at Vicky.dinatale@specialolympicsma.org

Sign Up Today!

Have a great weekend!


Please share your own resources and questions with Pam Varrin at pvarrin@cotting.org.

Helpful Links
Family Resources Dashboard
2022-2023 School Year Calendar
AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support Cotting School every time you shop, at no cost to you. Just select “Cotting School, Inc.” as your charitable organization and remember to shop at smile.amazon.com! Amazon will then donate a portion of your order’s purchase price to Cotting School!
Spread the Word!
Do you know someone who would like to learn more about Cotting School? Please share the information at the links below with someone you know. Cotting School parents are our best ambassadors, and our team is available to connect with families that would like to learn more!
Cotting’s Viewbook: Cotting Forward!
Cotting Admissions Information
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